- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu wants to see his team return to its proven formula, which looks something like this: Clock-churning offense + smothering defense + solid special teams = winning football.
In sharing his thoughts, which were reported by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Polamalu brings the Patriots into the discussion.
"I think it's unique no question. Especially in today's game. People don't think that you can, for the most part, have a really smothering defense. But, with the smothering defense, you can't have a pass-happy offense. For example, you would think you could take a great defense and mesh them together, but our defense would not work well with a New England Patriots offense or Indianapolis Colts offense. They may put up a lot of points, but it takes a lot more energy to play our defense than a Tampa 2-type defense."
This has been a Patriots-based topic that has interested me since 2007, when the team began adopting more three-receiver sets.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick often says the main job of the offense is to move the ball and score points. In turn, I've wondered if how the offense moves the ball and scores points is just as important, because it establishes an attitude/identity.
The Patriots totaled 592 pass attempts and 466 rushing attempts last season, which explains why Polamalu would call them "pass-happy".
Yet looking solely at the statistics, the Patriots could also be defined as a clock-churning offense in 2009. They held a 32:55 to 27:05 time of possession edge on opponents over the regular season. Only the Green Bay Packers held it longer.